Thousands of vehicles will be traveling the Kansas roadways during the Labor Day weekend. Many families will head out on one last camping trip or getaway as the school year begins. Safe Kids Kansas, State Farm and the Kansas Department of Transportation want to encourage families to buckle up and drive safely to protect their most valuable asset, their families.
This year, Aug. 25 through Sept. 7, a safety belt awareness campaign called “Bucks for Buckles” is being held in 37 cities across Kansas. One dollar bills are being distributed by local volunteers to drivers who have all occupants buckled up securely in their vehicle. Those riding unrestrained will receive educational materials about the effectiveness of seat belts and child safety seats in saving lives and reducing injuries.
“No one can predict when they will be involved in a motor vehicle crash, yet almost all of us will be involved in an automobile crash in our lifetime. In 2011, 382 people lost their lives on Kansas roadways and 50 percent of them were unbuckled,” said Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas. “The single most effective means of protecting the lives of you and your passengers is wearing seat belts and using appropriate child restraints every time you ride in the vehicle – even short distances.”
According to the 2011 KDOT Safety Belt survey, only 83 percent of those surveyed ages 14 and older, were wearing their seat belt. This compares to the national average of 84 percent. In 2010, Kansas ranked 36 in the nation in seat belt usage.
“An average of 93 people die each day in motor vehicle crashes nationally; that’s an average of one death every 16 minutes,” Sage said. “The lifesaving benefits of seat belts are real and increasing use can make a difference. It’s such a simple thing and only takes a few seconds to buckle up.”
For more information about safety belt or child safety seat use, call 785-296-1223 or visit www.safekidskansas.org, www.safekids.org and www.facebook.com/safekidskansas.